Evaluating the New York Yankees Current 2017 Rotation Options

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Four minor league starters put themselves in position to crack the 2017 rotation with strong campaigns in the upper-minors this year.

Maybe the most exciting minor league option for the Yankees 2017 rotation was even a starter at this time last year. Converted reliever Chance Adams has exceeded all expectations in 2016. With a 2.33 ERA and 10.2 K/9 in 127.1 IP split between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, the 22-year-old pushed his way to the 13th spot on MLB Pipeline’s list of Yankees prospects and landed a spot on Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star Team.

BA’s write-up on Adams notes that his .169 opponent batting average allowed this year is the second lowest among all qualified minor pitchers since 1993. He’s got a well-rounded arsenal that looks ready for prime time, with a mid-90’s heater, plus slider, and serviceable change.

The Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre rotation also features three promising arms that could have an impact at some point in 2017. Jordan Montgomery made it to the top of the Yankees’ minor league season in just his third professional season, pitching to a 2.13 ERA and 8.7 K/9 in 139.1 IP split between Double-A and the Railriders. 

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As gaudy as Monty’s numbers look, they can’t compare with those of 25-year-old lefty Dietrich Enns, who came out of nowhere last season with a 0.61 ERA in 12 starts, and has not come back to Earth yet, compiling a 1.73 ERA and 8.3 K/9 in 135 IP in the upper-minors.

Scouts don’t love Enns’ stuff and see him as a fringy spot-starter type, but if he continues to pitch like this in Triple-A, he will eventually earn a chance in the rotation.

The dark horse for the 2017 Yankees rotation is 2015 first round pick James Kaprielian, who only made three starts this year because of persistent elbow issues. However, Kaprielian looked like a fast riser before the injury, striking out 22 in 18 IP for High-A Tampa following an impressive stint in big league spring training.

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New York will likely take it slow with Kaprielian’s recovery, but there are rumors he might be ready to pitch in the Arizona Fall League in October, which would go a long way towards launching him into the upper-minors by next July. If the stars align and the big league club is once again searching for starting depth, it’s not hard to envision a scenario where Kaprielian plays the savior.